What better way to spend a beautiful summer’s day than by heading out into the countryside, stopping at a pub or two along the way?
This summer, why not head out into the countryside for a fantastic day out near Leeds? Not only can you go for a lovely walk around God’s Own County, but we’ve made sure every stroll on this list has at least one pub for you to stop at along the way for the all-important refreshments, so you can enjoy all the natural beauty Yorkshire has to offer and treat yourself to a well deserved pint after.
Otley to Bramhope via Eccup Walk
The market town of Otley is a popular starting point for walkers, and this 10-mile route is jam-packed with intriguing landmarks and tempting pubs, perfect for a summer day out. Start at the bus station car park, where you can either pop into The Junction Inn for a cheeky pint or head along the old dismantled railway and past Caley Hall Farm, where you’ll find incredible views and the famous Caley Crags.
From there, take the route north of Bramhope and head on to The Dales Way to reach the small village of Eccup, where you’ll find the stunning reservoir. While you’re here, pop into The New Inn for a quick pint, before making your way back into Bramhope, via Golden Acre Park, which is full of summery flowers and plants at this time of year. To put the cherry on top, end your walk in the beer garden at The Fox and Hounds.
Start at Otley Bus Station, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3NX, or OS reference SE 20279 45490. Check out the route.
Skipton to Malham
This 12-mile route connects two of North Yorkshire’s most picturesque towns, Skipton and Malham, and it’s the perfect summer pub walk. Start from Chapel Hill in Skipton, an hour from Leeds, and head up to your first landmark, Sharp Haw, a summit on Tarn Moor with incredible vistas. You’ll pass through the small hamlet of Flasby before making your way into the village of Hetton – here you can pop into The Angel Inn, a charming country pub with a big beer garden.
From Hetton, take the bridleway across the moorland passing the huge Winterburn Reservoir, with Pendle Hill in the distance, and head up to Weets Top where you join The Dales High Way to reach the magnificent Gordale Scar. On your way back to Malham, work your way through the thick woods and waterfalls of Janet’s Foss, before taking a well-deserved rest at The Lister Arms or The Buck Inn. They’re historic pubs with packed menus of pub classics and more than a few real ales, so why not do both?
Start at Chapel Hill, Skipton, BD23 1NL, or OS reference SD 98919 51989. Check out the route.
Fewston Reservoir Circular
If you fancy a leisurely summer stroll with picturesque views and incredible scenery, take the 45-minute trip out to Blubberhouses in Nidderdale. It’s a well-kept 3.7-mile route that takes you around the pretty Fewston Reservoir, which comes alive in the summer with wild flowers springing up everywhere you look – you might even see some sheep on its banks.
Look out for everything from millwork to betony, golden rod and common vetch as you make your way from the reservoir car park in the village, right around the perimeter. But it’s not just flora, there’s plenty of fauna too. Keep an eye out for the geese and ducks on the water, with birds and butterflies in the trees. As you come right around, you’ll reach Blubberhouses again where you can nip into The Hopper Lane for a pint, a bite to eat or even an overnight stay.
Start at Fewston Reservoir car park, Blubberhouses, North Yorkshire, LS21 2NY, or OS reference SE 16980 55408. Check out the route.
Thorner Moor Circular
How about an 8-mile walk around the picturesque country village of Thorner? Just 20 minutes from Leeds, start at St Peter’s Church before making your way east onto Thorner Moor, where you can look out on the sweeping fields as you make your way to The Fox and Grapes at the end of Mangrill Lane – enjoy a pint (and the views) in their fantastic beer garden, then go on your merry way.
Head back up the same road, passing the Bramham Park estate, Stubbing Moor and Wothersome Lake on your way, then nip into Hetchell Wood Nature Reserve, where you’ll find the famed Pompocali Earthworks. After delving into nature and history here, follow the route along Thorner Lane to reach The Inn at Scarcroft, before coming back into Thorner for a pint and something to eat at The Mexborough Arms.
Start at St Peter’s Church, Thorner, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS14 3ED, or OS grid reference SE 37960 40575. Check out the route.
Hawksworth Wood Circular
The Hawksworth Wood Circular is a 6.7-mile walk that’s perfect for summer. As the name suggests, you’ll be starting at Hawksworth Wood, just off Abbey Road – follow the route west along the River Aire, where you’ll see everything from heathland to wildflower meadows, with butterflies, woodpeckers and even roe deer hiding in the trees. You’ll then reach Newlay Bridge, which offers lovely views across the river, before you stop for a pint at The Abbey Inn – make the most of their beer garden while you’re here.
Next, find the towpath along the Leeds Liverpool Canal, which will take you up to Rodley Nature Reserve where you can spot wetland wildlife. Thirsty? The Rodley Barge is just a bit further down the path, or you can carry on under Calverley Bridge to reach The Railway Inn. Once you’ve quenched your thirst, join the Leeds Country Way at Owl Bridge, head up the Hunger Hills in Horsforth and walk through Haigh Wood where you’ll reach the start again after walking along the pretty Oil Mill Beck.
Start at Hawksworth Wood, Rein Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4TA, or OS reference SE 23898 36997. Check out the route.Cover image credit: Mark Stevenson licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons.